CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel remains high on the list for Transportation Secretary under President-elect Joe Biden.
The choice is causing controversy among Democrats who are critical of Emanuel’s handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting case.
Emanuel served two terms as mayor. He was first elected in 2011 after Mayor Richard M. Daley made a surprise announcement that he would not be seeking a seventh term.
Emanuel had been expected to go for a third term in 2019, but in a surprise in September 2018, he said he would not seek re-election.
The 2015 release of the video of McDonald’s fatal shooting caused widespread backlash that sparked protests and heightened racial tensions across the city. Emanuel was heavily criticized for waiting more than a year after the shooting to release the video in a move critics say was fueled by his motive to get re-elected to his second term as mayor.
Surrounded by a sea of political pressure in the wake of McDonald’s shooting, Emanuel fired then-police chief Garry McCarthy and ex-Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her re-election bid. McCarthy went on to run unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019 – first campaigning against Emanuel, but staying on after Emanuel withdrew.
The officer who shot and killed McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, is now serving a 6-year and 9-month sentence after a Cook County jury convicted him of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. Emanuel’s announcement came on the eve of jury selection for Van Dyke’s trial.
Before being elected mayor, Emanuel served as President Barack Obama’s first White House Chief of Staff. Prior to that, he served as a congressman representing Illinois’ 5th District from 2003 to 2009. That seat is now held by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois).
In President Bill Clinton’s administration, Emanuel served as Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President for policy and strategy.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called it “shameful” that Emanuel was even being considered for a Biden cabinet position.
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